« WSAU Opinion Blog

OPINION - Recycling blues

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) No offense to Mother Earth, but I find recycling to be a pain in the neck. I don’t think I’m alone.

When I first moved here, I didn’t recycle at all. Soda bottles, number-3 plastic, and newspapers all went out with the trash. When my kids went to school, they were taught to be ‘recycling rangers’; I was guilted into going along.

When I moved into my home, we didn’t have a recycling bin. The people who lived there before us didn’t leave it behind. The city wants to charge me $10 for a new one. I don’t want to pay anything for stuff that I’m currently throwing away. Wal Mart sells a green plastic bin that looks like a recycling bin. I bought it for $3.99, wrote “Recycling” and my address on it, and I was ready to recycle.

My experience has been hit-and-miss. I’m forever forgetting which Thursday is my alternating-Thursday. When I look out the window for clues from my neighbors, they seem not to know either.

Last Thursday was, I’m certain, my recycling week. My makeshift bin was overflowing with: a pizza box, the remnants of some Sunday newspapers, glass jars of Yoohoo that my kids drank, empty yogurt cans, and my usual supply of 2-liter plastic soda bottles.

When I came home from work, every else on my block had their recycling bin emptied and turned over – awaiting to be brought back into their homes. Mine was untaken, and apparently untouched.


I really don’t know.

Maybe it was my unofficial recycling bin. I’m not sure if every bottle or can was cleaned – it should have been, but I’m not 100% in compliance. Bottle caps and lids off or on? “Off,” which is correct. Was there something in there that wasn’t recyclable? I don’t think so, but I’m not certain. There was no post-it note explaining which recycling rule I wasn’t following.

I’m a reluctant recycler. I’d think people who are in the recycling business would want to make it easy for everyone, myself included, to do it. I’ll put my recyclables out at the curb again next Thursday. Last chance. If it’s not picked up, it’s going in the regular trash.

Chris Conley